Tire Care and Tyre Tips
Tires on motorcycles, like any vehicle, play a vital role in the performance, handling and safety of the bike. Many times we tend to ignore the necessary maintenance needed to keep the tires safe. With motorcycles, there are only two small contact patches for the rider to rely on, so it is extremely important to keep the tires in top condition.
Any tire, no matter how well constructed, may fail in use as a result of punctures, impact damage, improper inflation, overloading, or other conditions resulting from use or misuse. Tire failure may create a risk of property damage, serious personal injury or death. To reduce the risk of tire failure, we strongly recommend you read and follow all safety information contained in this brochure.
It is recommended that riders do a periodic inspection of their tires and have any imbedded objects removed by a qualified service person. Serious personal injury or death may result from a tire failure. Many tire failures are preceded by vibration, bumps, bulges or irregular wear. If a vibration occurs while riding your motorcycle, or you notice a bump, bulge or irregular wear, have your tires and motorcycle evaluated by a qualified service person.
It is not often that a properly maintained tire will “blow out” while you are riding. More commonly if air is lost, it will be gradual. If you do experience a blow out or sudden tire failure, the following information should be helpful: When the failure occurs, slowly decrease the amount of throttle, hold the handlebars firmly, and steer to maintain your lane position. Once the motorcycle has slowed and is fully under control, apply the brakes gently. Gradually pull over to the shoulder and come to a stop.
Always keep the motorcycle manufacturer’s recommended air pressure in both tires. This is an important requirement for tire safety and mileage. Your motorcycle owner’s manual will tell you the recommended cold inflation pressure. On some motorcycles, the recommended front and rear tire pressures will be different. The pressures stamped on the sidewall of the tire are only for maximum loads. On some occasions, these pressures will also be the manufacturers recommended settings as well.
Riding on tires with too little air pressure is dangerous. The tires will build excessive heat. This can cause a sudden tire failure that could lead to serious personal injury or death.
Under inflation may also:
- Damage the tire leading to tire failure
- Adversely affect vehicle cornering
- Reduce tire life
- Increase fuel consumption
- Fatigue cracking
Riding on tires with too much air can be dangerous. The tires are more likely to be cut, punctured, or broken by sudden impact. Serious personal injury or death could result. Do not exceed the pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended inflation and other tire information.
Never inflate a tire unless it is secured to the motorcycle or a tire-mounting machine. Inflating an unsecured tire is dangerous. If it bursts, it could be hurled into the air with explosive force resulting in serious personal injury or death.
Checking Tire Inflation
- Check your tire air pressure at least once a week and before long trips. Be sure to use an accurate pressure gauge.
- Check your air pressure when the tires are “cold.” The tires are “cold” when your motorcycle has been ridden less than a mile at moderate speed or after being stopped for three or more hours.
- If you must add air when your tires are hot, add four pounds per square inch (4 psi)(28 kPa) above the recommended cold inflation pressure. Recheck the inflation pressure when the tire is cold.
- Never release air from a hot tire in order to reach the recommended cold tire pressure. -Normal riding causes tires to run hotter and inflation pressure to increase. If you release air when your tires are hot, you may dangerously under inflate your tires.
- If your tires lose more than two pounds per square inch (2 psi)(14 kPa) per month, the tire, the valve, or wheel may be damaged. Consult your local dealer for an inspection.
Use valve caps to keep valve cores clean, clear of debris and to help guard against air leakage.
Riding your motorcycle in an overloaded condition is dangerous. Overloading causes excessive heat to build up in your tires. This can lead to sudden tire failure and serious personal injury or death while the tire is overloaded or at some later date.
Riding on damaged tires is dangerous. A damaged tire can suddenly fail causing serious personal injury or death. Have your tires regularly inspected by your local dealer for damage.
Riding on an improperly repaired tire is dangerous. An improper repair can cause further damage to the tire. It may suddenly fail, causing serious personal injury or death. To be safe, go to your local dealer for proper tire repairs.
Before having a tire repaired, tell your local dealer if you have used an aerosol fixer to inflate/ seal the tire. Aerosol fixers could contain a highly volatile gas. Always remove the valve core outdoors, away from sources of excessive heat, flame, or sparks and completely deflate the tire before removing it from the rim for repair.
- Never repair a tire with less than 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimeters) tread remaining. At this tread depth, the tire is worn out and must be replaced.
- Never repair a tire with a puncture larger than 1/4 inch (6.4 millimeters) in diameter. Such tires cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced.
- Repairs of all tires (radial and non-radial) must be of the plug and inside patch type. Using plugs alone on any type of tire is not a safe repair.
- Never repair a tire with a puncture or other damage outside the tread area. Such tires cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced. -Any tire repair done without removing the tire from the rim is improper.
- Tubes, like tires, should be repaired only by a qualified tire service person.
- Never use a tube as a substitute for a proper repair.
- A tire’s speed rating is void if the tire is repaired, retreaded, damaged or abused, or otherwise altered from its original condition. Thereafter, it should be treated as a non-speed-rated tire.
When fitting a new tire on a rim requiring a tube, a new tube should be fitted at the same time. Old tubes may become stretched and cause a crease which could make the tube fail. Check the size markings on the tube to ensure the tire size appears on the tube. Do not fit tubes in radial motorcycle tires, nor fit radial tires on rims requiring tubes, unless it is specified by the tire manufacturer.
Riding at high speed is dangerous, and can cause a motorcycle accident, including serious personal injury or death.
Regardless of the speed and handling capabilities of your motorcycle and its tires, a loss of control can result from exceeding the maximum speed: (a) allowed by law or (b) warranted by traffic, weather, vehicle, or road conditions. High-speed riding should be left to trained professionals operating under controlled conditions. No tire, regardless of its design or speed rating, has unlimited capacity for speed, and a sudden tire failure can occur if its limits are exceeded.